Restrictions eased as epidemic extended from 17 May
LJUBLJANA - The government eased several coronavirus restrictions, including raising the cap on gatherings to 50, and relaxing restrictions on hospitality, tourism, sports, culture and education. It also extended the state of Covid-19 epidemic by another 30 days from 17 May. Cultural, sports and other events as well as casinos will be able to reopen to 50% sitting capacity for visitors that have been vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid-19. Opening hours for hospitality establishments are being extended to between 5am-10pm. Secondary schools and colleges are allowed to fully open.
Indian variant of coronavirus confirmed in Slovenia
LJUBLJANA - The Institute of Microbiology and Immunology at the Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine confirmed it had confirmed the Indian variant of coronavirus in a sample taken on 20 April from a person who tested positive after returning from India. This was after the institute back analysed all Slovenian samples again after updating on 11 May the algorithm to sequence the new mutation.
Almost 730 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, two deaths
LJUBLJANA - A total of 726 out of 4,698 PCR tests came back positive on Tuesday, fresh government data show. 463 Covid-19 patients are in hospitals, including 127 in intensive care. Two patients died yesterday. The rolling seven-day average of confirmed cases dropped by 29 to 520.
Brussels upgrades Slovenia's GDP forecast for 2021 to 4.9%
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission upgraded Slovenia's GDP growth forecast for this year by 0.2 of a percentage point to 4.9%, while downgrading it to 5.1% for 2022, by 0.1 of a point from its previous, winter outlook. Recovery is expected to be driven by domestic demand and by investment, which will fuel demand for imports.
Slovenia urging sides in Israel to prevent further civilian casualties
LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry responded to the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians by calling on all sides to prevent further civilian casualties. "Rocket attacks on #Israel as well as any form of violence are unacceptable and must end immediately. The only way to a peaceful solution is without violence. We call on all sides to prevent further civilian casualties," the Foreign Ministry said in a post on its Twitter profile.
Minister expects EU to have enough vaccine in coming months
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Health Minister Janez Poklukar expects the EU will have enough Covid-19 vaccine in the coming months to fight off the pandemic, and that a digital green certificate will also play an important role. Its first version could be available in Slovenia in June, allowing residents to travel abroad over the summer, he said after meeting European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides.
Vrtovec says Slovenia will be ambitious in energy, transport
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec wrapped up a two-day visit to Brussels where he met senior EU Commission officials by saying that Slovenia's upcoming EU Council presidency would be very ambitious in energy and transport. "We have important objectives, for which I am convinced will be attained, in particular in the field of e-mobility and decarbonisation," the minister told Slovenian reporters.
Hojs talks upcoming EU presidency with Hungarian counterpart
BUDAPEST, Hungary - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs met in Budapest his Hungarian counterpart Sandor Pinter, with the working visit dedicated to presenting the priorities in interior affairs during Slovenia's presidency of the EU Council in the second half of the year. Slovenia and Hungary have similar views when it comes to migration - they advocate progress in the external dimension and more effective refoulement, the ministry said.
FM Logar says Slovenia to join MED7 in autumn
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia expects to be invited to a summit of MED7, a group of seven Mediterranean EU countries, this autumn, Foreign Minister Anže Logar said as he answered an MP question about the country's plans to join MED7. He told the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee he had received confirmation as he attended a session of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday.
Media Freedom Rapid Response plans mission to Slovenia in May
BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - The partners within the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) project will conduct a virtual mission to Slovenia in late May and early June to assess reports on the deterioration of media freedom in the country over the past year. The virtual fact-finding mission will be led by the European Federation of Journalists and the International Press Institute in partnership with the Slovene Association of Journalists, and joined by other partner organisations.
EANA calls on Janša to settle dispute over STA
BERN, Switzerland - The European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) addressed an open letter to Prime Minister Janez Janša calling on him to resolve the dispute with the Slovenian Press Agency (STA). It expressed concern about Janša's tweet accusing STA director Bojan Veselinovič of being an accomplice to the "murder" of former STA editor-in-chief Borut Meško, which they see as "another blunt attempt to attack STA and its independence".
Court of Audit boss cleared of incompatibility of offices
LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption established that Tomaž Vesel's work for FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee is not incompatible with his office of Court of Audit president under Slovenia's integrity legislation, and terminated the procedure against him on Monday. His work for FIFA was questioned by some media and politicians as the court was reviewing Slovenia's public procurement of personal protective equipment last year.
Court hires detective to deliver mail to Janša
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that the Ljubljana District Court hired a detective to try to deliver court mail to Prime Minister Janez Janša, who is not picking up mail related to the Trenta case. The case involves a piece of land in the Trenta Valley that Janša bought in 1992 and sold in 2005 for nearly nine times the price he paid, and for which an indictment against him and another two defendants was filed last autumn over abuse of office.
Opposition fails to exclude foreign capital from Koper-Divača project
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly narrowly rejected opposition-sponsored changes to the act on the construction of a new railway line between the port of Koper and Divača seeking to strike out the option that allows foreign capital to be invested in the project. Coalition MPs pointed to the role of foreign countries in the port's development. 43 deputies voted in favour and 44 against.
Telekom Slovenije suspends sale of TS Media
LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije announced it had suspended the sale a 100% stake in its subsidiary TS Media, whose portfolio includes the news portal Siol.net, while not disclosing the reasons. The state-owned telco published a call for expressions of interest in TS Media last November. According to data from the Slovenian Advertising Chamber, Siol.net is the second most popular web portal in Slovenia, trailing only 24ur.com.
38 Oshkosh tactical vehicles arrive in Koper
KOPER - The shipment of 38 Oshkosh light tactical vehicles for the Slovenian Armed Forces arrived at the Koper port on Tuesday. Slovenia purchased the four-wheeled vehicles from the US under a government-to-government deal signed on 12 November 2018, the Defence Ministry said. The purchase comprises 38 JLTV 4x4 vehicles fitted with M153 Kongsberg weapon station.
Cinkarna Celje sales revenue, net profit up in Q1
CELJE - Chemical company Cinkarna Celje saw its sales revenue rise by 5% to EUR 50.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 year on year, while its net profit rose by 8% to EUR 7.4 million. The management considers the results good and above the projections for the first three quarters.
Women's rally calls for freedom, democracy
LJUBLJANA - A peaceful rally marked the 78th anniversary of the end of the first women's protests held in the occupied Ljubljana, with dozens of protesters calling for freedom, democracy and a serious attitude towards the topical social issues that would shape the quality of life in the future. The authorities were also urged to protect the environment.
Carmina Burana staged by Edward Clug to premiere on Sunday
MARIBOR - The Carmina Burana cantata choreographed by Edward Clug will bring together 130 dancers, musicians and singers to the stage of the SNG Maribor opera and ballet house as it premieres on Sunday evening in a live broadcast on national television. Conducted by Simon Krečič, the show will also feature opera soloists, but there will be no live audience due to the Covid-19 restrictions. The performance will be thus broadcast live on Channel 2 of TV Slovenija.
Preparations for Giro d'Italia in full swing in Goriška region
NOVA GORICA/BRDA - The municipalities of Brda and Nova Gorica are all set for the 15th stage of the Giro that will take place on 23 May and will run from Grado to Gorizia across Slovenia. Numerous activities are under way to make this an unforgettable day, although it is not yet clear whether spectators will be allowed to watch the race from the sides